The visitors of the Young Peoples Center in Brighton are learning how to make a recycled plastic bottle structure to house their rhubarb and tomato plants. The warmth from the shelter will enhance the plants growth. When ready the vegetables will be prepared and cooked giving the participants an extended knowledge of growing and enjoying seasonal food, and recycling.
RHUBARB FARM Update for August
We submitted our planning application at the beginning of July. With 39 accompanying documents (as we were asking for polytunnel, car park, signage, erection of sheds and containers for office space) we were relieved it was deemed complete and we will get a decision by 10th September. We had to take a deep breath when we paid the planning fee of £1,965 and are now well in the red! On 5th August we have two graduate interns starting work with us for 8 weeks – awarded to us free by Nottingham University – we are really looking forward to them helping us with more preparation for becoming operational. We are also going through a commissioning process for £48,000 of Working Neighbourhoods Fund money, which is being arranged through the Bolsover Local Strategic Partnership. Success in getting this funding, the signing of our leases, and a positive outcome to the planning application will mean we can employ our first staff and actually become operational on our 8 acre site. We envisage this should be in late September/early October. Then we can get our portaloos on site, as funded by the Vegware Community Fund. The biggest hurdle after this is getting funding for fencing – we need 905 metres of close weld mesh, for the security of our buildings, polytunnel and crops.
The gardens have benefited from the help of a number of corporate team challenges throughout July. These have focused on tasks including Rabbit fencing the vegetable gardens, and developing features that will be shown in the Beechgrove Garden programme to be filmed between 9th and 11th August.
We have followed up project work resulting from the Transition Town launch. This involved collating data harvested at the event and attending meetings. A Transition Food Group is now meeting fortnightly with representatives of organisations from around the area and as such is a valuable networking opportunity. An audit of sustainable food initiatives is in the process of being prepared. Members of the Transition Town food group are now being proposed as trustees for the CFH, hopefully leading to appointment at our AGM on 14th July.
Over the summer, with support from Vegware, Green Up Your Act Education will be providing a range of eco workshops for the Young Peoples Center in Brighton. The center is a free space for young people to come to socialize and chat to volunteers who can provide help and support. We hope the added green input will inspire and empower the centers visitors.
Rhubarb Farm have been awarded the professional help of a surveyor, planning consultant and solicitor to work on our lease and planning application and we are now poised to submit our planning application for fencing, structures and polytunnel for our site. On 18 June the Derbyshire County PCT organised a seminar to promote our work to commissioners of services and senior decision-makers in the Bolsover area (where our site is) and 60 people attended, including 4 volunteers and a Rotary Club funder from our previous project. They wowed the audience with positive reports of the importance for them of being on a therapeutic horticulture project. We are also now being asked for jobs, volunteering opportunities and placements for people with learning disabilities by local people living around the site, who have embraced RHUBARB FARM even though we’re not operational yet.
We have been working with Hope St Baptist Church, initially on a joint event that took
place on the 24th of April, ‘Seedy Saturday’, a plant and seed swap day. We tidied up the
garden with 12 hours of voluntary labour to give us some idea of the present maintenance
requirements and the possibilities for further design. The garden space is to multi
functional, used by a number of groups, and we want to keep this to the fore by inviting
stakeholders, interest groups and the general public to a ‘garden party’ to discuss options.
Now we have been cited by the Church as the principal partner for the garden
development we are looking at funding a coordinator position to oversee the project and
organise a work plan.
Thanks to Vegware funding, we have been able to continue our work improving local green spaces. You can see a Flickr slide show of our work in May, planting the Leith Links Childrens Orchard here:
More recently, we’ve been working in the Persevere community garden.
Schools and colleges all contribute to the green house gases in our environment. The energy and water used, waste produced and the traveling involved in getting to and from schools, become a part of the schools carbon footprint. Targeting these areas and implementing a reduction is key to not only making your school kinder to the planet, but also creates an inspiring and empowering place for students to learn.
One of the most effective ways of bringing down the carbon emissions is for a school to become an ‘Eco School’. This month I will be introducing the ideas of sustainability to lower classes of Shoreham Beach Primary School for their Eco week keeping them on track for the Eco Schools Silver Flag award.
Rhubarb Farm has now been able to lease another 6 acres adjacent to the 2.5acres we already have. This will enable us to generate a much better income growing fruit and vegetables, enable us to be more sustainable and to promote all our environmental activities – compost toilets, windpower, photovoltaics and water harvesting. We have also been awarded a short-term graduate intern from Nottingham University, and our Local Strategic Partnership has offered us £50K so we can get our first staff employed. We have had a wonderful response from local people to the idea of RHUBARB FARM and a lot of support from the local authorities we will serve. We are now spending a lot of time applying for funds and getting quotes to fence our site, get safe storage and the equipment needed to start growing. All very exciting!